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October Landscapes – What kind of Winter lies ahead? Check your Persimmon seeds!

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What kind of winter will it be? Check your Persimmon seeds to find out!

Folklore has it that you can determine what type of winter is ahead by splitting a Persimmon seed and looking at the cotyledon

October arrives and Fall is practically here and winter is on the horizon. What kind of winter could be ahead for us? Well, that can depend on where you are standing in the USA.

In Texas, one of the folklore signs of the winter ahead is centered on the Texas  and American Persimmon Trees and their fruit, the Persimmon. If you take a ripened Persimmon and remove a seed, split it, you will be able to tell what kind of weather lies ahead for the winter by the shape of the seed’s “cotyledon.” More on that in a moment.


Above, a Texas Persimmon

The Persimmon is a very juicy fruit and sweet and is a favorite of Texans. They’re great right off the tree or in a pie or as preserves. The Texas Persimmon tree of course is native to Texas and only gets to about 20 feet tall under ideal growing conditions. You can find them in the wild as understory trees, living around other, taller trees. Their blooms are sort of low profile, not real spectacular but those blooms end up being a very healthy and tasty fruit.

The American Persimmon is found in East Texas while the Texas Persimmon grows in the Hill Country, Big Bend and South Texas areas.

Anyway, as folklore has it, you can determine what type of winter is ahead by splitting open a Persimmon seed and looking at the cotyledon. The cotyledon will be shaped like a spoon, knife, or fork.



1. A “spoon shaped” cotyledon is an indication that it will be a wet, snowy winter

2. A “fork shaped” cotyledon is an indication of a mild winter ahead.

3. A “knife shaped” cotyledon means a cold, windy, icy winter is ahead.



Texas Persimmon trees (in front) in Central Texas.

To do this, you will want to use a fruit that was grown in your area. The seeds will be located in the interior of the fruit. So just eat the fruit, collect some seeds. Split open a seed, holding it parallel to the flattened side. If using a knife to do this, be very careful. The cotyledon will be whitish in color.

Once you’ve split it open, lay the two sides apart and see what you’ve got! I did this and got a spoon shaped cotyledon this year.

Laugh if you want, but this method is accurate anywhere from 50 to 90 percent of the time!


Elsewhere, take a look around you!

A couple weeks ago in mid-September, I stopped by a client’s home to check out a tree we had planted two months ago. My job is to check it each week (and the landscape) to make sure nothing is going wrong as it is all relatively new.

When I stopped by two weeks ago, I saw something I thought was wrong with the top of the tree, a 200 gallon Autumn Blaze Maple. At first, I thought the top was burning off due to the recent heat we’d had. But upon closer inspection, those leaves weren’t brown, they were yellow, orange and red. I was shocked. This is pretty early to be seeing Fall color.

I called an arborist friend of mine and shared what I had observed. He confirmed that he, too, had been seeing trees change their color recently. And he agreed, it is very unusual to be this early. He and I agreed. We are probably going to see a real winter this year.


Pansies and Kale!

Due to the higher probability of a colder winter, DO NOT delay in getting your pansies and kale planted this year. Both are now available at the nurseries.

We want to plant the pansies early so that its warm enough to get their roots growing. That will produce a larger plant, thus more and larger blooms. If we wait until its cold to plant, it can stunt the growth of the pansies.

Once you’ve planted your pansies and kale, and before you water them, sprinkle some Carl Pool’s ColorStar Pansy food around them, then water. This will also help them get developed before the cold weather hits.

Don’t worry about winter being a little colder or snowy, the pansies and kale can take it!


Check your lawn for fungus!

We had an abrupt arrival of fall about two weeks ago. One day it was 104. A day or so later it was 69. Crazy.

Along with that, the nights are getting longer and cooler and evaporation rates during the day are decreasing. So fungus has a chance to develop and spread throughout the lawn if left unchecked.

You will recognize lawn fungus by yellowing blades of turf, or circular areas of deteriorating and yellowing turf. These circles will only grow in size. The real problem here is that during Fall, you don’t get much grow-back recovery after something damages the lawn. So its important to recognize and respond in a timely fashion. React in days, not next week.

One of the ways we can prevent the fungus from getting started in our lawns is to change our start times to morning starts and reduce the run times. For instance, in DFW right now we should be watering no more than twice a week and for only 8-10 minutes per zone (sprays).

You can treat with a retail product such as Immunox by Spectracide but you will likely need to treat twice (a week apart). The first spray will stop the spreading and will kill most of the fungus. The second spray would knock it completely out.

You may also choose to top dress the affected area with a compost topdressing. The enzymes in compost will feed on the fungus, knocking it out, albeit much slower.

Protect your trees!

If you haven’t had your trees trimmed in a few years, now would be a great time to do it. With what could be a snowy, icy winter ahead, you’ll want to reduce as much weight in the tree as you can so that you don’t have branches breaking or tree toppling over.

Christmas lights!

If you’re going to have Christmas lights professionally installed this year, contact your installer this month and meet with him/her to create a plan. Meeting early like this will ensure you get a proper timing on your installation.


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2 minutes ago, Baron said:


What does the catylonodon thingy look like this year? A preview of "Farmer's Almanac" stated that it would be a colder winter east of the Rockies.

Well, you have to do this with a fruit that is harvested in your specific area. I'm not sure what area you're in.

I'm 10 mins north of DFW Airport. The seed I split had a spoon inside.

Farmers Almanac is actually very accurate with their forecasts. Unlike our weather service, they factor in solar and lunar activity into the equation. Much of our weather is created by sun activity. None of the climate change data even considers solar activity.


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By the way, this would be a great year to plant Tulip bulbs, if we do have a real winter this year.

To do this, just buy your Tulip bulbs. Have a place you want to plant them set aside. Know that for real impact, you need to plant them in large, tight groupings. Pick contrasting colors for best curb appeal. Use all compost and landscape mix to plant them in. Mix in some granular Potash into your planting mix for the bulbs.

Make sure you plant the pointed end up. 

With a nice cold winter with some frozen precipitation, we should get a beautiful display in late winter/early fall from the Tulips. The worse our winters are, the better performance you get from Tulips.

You plant in late October or early November. Forget about them as you won't see anything from them until February. But when they show up, jaws drop.


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  • 2 weeks later...

My copper canyon dasie is looking terrible.  Yea, it dies down in winter, but this started about a month or so ago.  We did have an bad year with the white flies, damaged a lot of lawns in my neighborhood, so maybe that had something to do with it. I'd appreciate any suggestions to help it before the winter dormancy comes.

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3 hours ago, Earl Nobis Jefferson said:

My copper canyon dasie is looking terrible.  Yea, it dies down in winter, but this started about a month or so ago.  We did have an bad year with the white flies, damaged a lot of lawns in my neighborhood, so maybe that had something to do with it. I'd appreciate any suggestions to help it before the winter dormancy comes.

I tell you, lots of perennials have been going down slowly this year. Our Fall came early so I think they're responding to that.

The white flies are actually white moths. They aren't the problem. The larvae that they lay becomes sod web worms. And they eat your turf.

We treat them with Bifenthrin. The trouble is, if you spray the lawn with Bifenthrin, you must do so at nightfall when the worms come out. During the day, they spin lawn thatch like a web into the soil where they stay until nightfall. They feed at night.

I have found the best way to treat is to apply granular Bifenthrin at heavy dose and water right before nightfall. The chemical will dissolve from the granule and drip down to where the worms are.

They, like other lawn insects, slow down on their feeding when the temperatures get cooler and are completely gone by the time we see a first frost. But they can create some damage between now and then. 

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